Monday Mornings with Madison

To Develop the Most Successful Business, Embrace Kaizen – Part 1

Word Count: 1,364
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Kaizen is the Japanese word for ‘Improvement’.  Generally, it is said that Kai means change and zen means good or better.  But it actually translates roughly into ‘to break apart and investigate’ and ‘to improve upon the existing situation’.  It embraces the idea that even good things can be made better… improved in small ways.[1] Continue reading

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The Butterfly Effect on Business, Part 2

Word Count: 1,947
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

In Poor Richard’s Almanack[1], Benjamin Franklin once wrote:  ““For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost.  For the want of a horse, the rider was lost.  For the want of a rider, the battle was lost.  For the want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.  And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”  Franklin — a man of both faith and scientific study — was describing the Butterfly Effect, long before it was demonstrated by a weather algorithm three centuries later.  The Butterfly Effect says that a small action, change or decision can have a broad and profound impact on other things later. Continue reading

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The Butterfly Effect on Business, Part 1

Word Count: 1,579
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

The marvels of creation attest to the Creator, as it is simply impossible for any human being to have orchestrated all these minute details. Without minimizing this in any way, we will now explore the scientific theory called the Butterfly Effect and how we can apply it to business.

A small part of “Chaos Theory” says that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon or tornado halfway around the world.  This was dubbed the “butterfly effect.”  At its core, this concept recognizes the sensitive interdependence of conditions in which a small change in one place or system can result in large differences later and even affect other systems. Continue reading

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Elevating Ordinary Moments to Create Extraordinary Experiences for Clients and Employees – Part 1

Word Count: 1,357
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Every company and leader is looking for ways to dazzle clients and keep top talent engaged and excited.  They want to ‘add sizzle and gleam to the steak’.  Credit card companies, hotels and airlines offer a proliferation of rewards programs geared to increase customer loyalty.  Corporate gift giving to clients and employees soars during the holiday seasons.   Employee of the month parking spaces, quarterly sales awards, and $ 25 grocery store gift certificates at Thanksgiving – all aimed at making employees feel appreciated and keeping them motivated — are ubiquitous.  Nothing wrong with any of that, but it’s been done a million times.  After a while, it starts to feel a bit stilted, common and uninspired.  There is a halo of tired familiarity around such efforts. Continue reading

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What To Do (and Not Do) When An Employee Resigns

Word Count: 1,803
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

As sure as death and taxes, business owners, leaders and managers should absolutely expect most employees to resign over time.  Almost no one works at the same company their entire career anymore unless they are related to the owners or are part of the top leadership.  That means probably over 90% of all employees will eventually leave.  Employee turnover is inevitable.  They resign for all kinds of reasons.  More about that later, but suffice to say that the reasons vary a lot.  And, they matter a lot. Continue reading

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10 Ways for Companies to Help Staff Grow and Develop – Part 2

Word Count: 1,289
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Growth is an inherent part of human DNA.  Individuals begin growing at birth and the growth process never really ends.  First, it is “growing up” from infancy to childhood to adulthood.  Although physical growth slows over time, the desire for development never goes away.  Despite the routine of living and working in the same place doing the same job year after year, no one ever really wants to think that they have finished growing as a person.  People want to wake up every day knowing that there more opportunities ahead.  They want to know they have not yet reached their full potential.  And that human desire for growth is certainly manifested in the area of career because work plays such a huge part of daily life.  We spend most of our waking hours at work. Continue reading

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10 Ways for Companies to Help Staff Grow and Develop – Part 1

Word Count: 1,423
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

The U.S. Labor Market shows that unemployment is pretty low.  The overall unemployment rate is at 4% nationwide.[1] But even that number doesn’t tell the full story.  Unemployment of those without a high school diploma is 5.5%, while it is 4.2% for those with a high school degree, and 3.2% for those with some college education.[2] More telling is that the unemployment rate for those with a Bachelor’s degree is at 2.3% and with a Master’s degree was at 1.6% in April 2018.  Given that some unemployment is frictional (people displaced by technological advances), a 2.3% unemployment rate for those with a Bachelor’s degree is on the cusp of what economists call zero unemployment (2%) and 1.6% for those with a Master’s degree is below zero unemployment[3].  For companies that depend primarily on highly skilled, very educated employees, that’s a very tight job market indeed. Continue reading

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It’s A Matter of Time

Word Count: 1,186
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

The average life expectancy for a person in the U.S. is 79 years of age.  Broken down by gender, it’s 76 years for a man and 81 years for a woman.  The first 18 years of life are spent growing and becoming an adult, and the last 11 years or so are usually spent in retirement.  For those who must earn a living – which is most people — that leaves roughly 50 years to gain skills, nurture a career or business, be productive and achieve goals. Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Confirmation Bias, Part 2

Word Count: 1,616
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

The Downside of Confirmation Bias

The term Confirmation Bias was first coined by British psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason in 1960 during an experiment he conducted.  The term has since been used and proven countless times. Continue reading

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Thinking Errors and Business: Confirmation Bias, Part 1

Word Count: 1,367
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Confirmation Bias:  The Mind Wants to be Right

Has this ever happened to you?  You believe something to be true, and then a research study you read confirms that what you believed to be true is, in fact, true.  Days later, you hear something else that validates the same idea.  You research further, and the articles you find also validate your thinking.  You think “Aha, I was right!”

Or, you recall some data that proves a point you were making, even though the overall data may have actually been inconclusive or conflicted.  But, as you pore through additional studies, the information you find endorses what you believed to be so.  It affirms your previously held beliefs.  You feel better because you were right.  You think to yourself, “I am right again!” or maybe even “I am always right.”

One problem.  You are likely experiencing Confirmation Bias. Continue reading

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